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To Judge Judy

29 Nov

To introduce this post, I accused a commenter on the Bleachgate blogpost of being an ‘alternative medicine’ apologist in a private email. They posted this as a comment and emailed me back to say that I was confused about who hadn’t made their mind up about MMS.
This was my response.
I want to post it because I feel it also highlights just why I want to deal with MMS.

To Judge Judy
First, I accused you of being an alternative medicine apologist because you used one of their prime tactics, attacking conventional medicine.
Secondly, you’ve not made up your mind on MMS? Fair enough.
However, consider this: no clinical evidence exists for it, only anecdotes. Also, toxicity studies show that ClO2 (MMS), in doses lower than Jim recommends, is a neurotoxin and a thyroid toxin. These both are worrying. The fact that Jim sells MMS, or at least used to, and now instead makes money from others with his book, DVDs, courses and royalties from other MMS suppliers, then lies and says he makes no money from MMS, is even more worrying, especially since we’re talking about what is supposedly a medicine. A pseudo medicine that is being targeted specifically at those most vulnerable, those with cancer, AIDS and other life threatening, horrible illnesses. Even worse, it’s targeted at those with chronic illnesses, those with the most potential to suffer from the long term damaging effects of it.
All this, without a shred of evidence that it works.
Perhaps now you see my worry and desire to sort this out ASAP?
– Rhys

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Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!)

7 Nov

Hello everyone!

As you might know, Marianne aka @noodlemaz and I have started a podcast, Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!).

You can also find us on iTunes here Super-Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (with capes!) (reviews much appreciated!)

In this podcast, we are reviewing and reading Jim Humble’s book, The Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century

It is a comedy goldmine.

We will also be having guest reports. In episode 3, we will have one from Kash Farooq (@kashfarooq on Twitter)

As an extra, Marianne has written out transcripts with added links and pictures, so you can see exactly what we were talking about/where we got our information from.

You can view them here:

So, subscribe, review, send in your feedback to 

Hope you enjoy it!

Small update on Bleachgate

20 Oct

Hello all!

As I mentioned in an earlier blogpost, Councillor Woodman promised to write a letter to the Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Tony Jewell.

Today I received a copy of the reply.

First – the FSA have concluded that MMS is injurious to health and deemed it unsafe under Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002. This article sets the general principles and requirements of food law. Sodium chlorite also isn’t ‘on the permitted list of minerals as set out in the annex to Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC’. This means that it is not a permitted food supplement.

The next paragraph basically reiterates that MMS is not on sale here in Wales and that the FSA are identifying MMS sellers in the UK and reporting them and dealing with them.

Finally, the most exciting paragraph which I shall directly quote.

You should also be aware that MMS has also now been the subject of an international alert by the World Health Organisation (WHO). They are encouraging national authorities to take necessary steps to protect the public from harm associated with this product.

Wow. The World Health Organisation, baby.

Bleachgate: More on MMS in the UK

1 Oct

Hello again all!

Well, I’ve been rather busy over the past week. A lot has happened since I last blogged.

Last Thursday, I went and listened to the response to my public question to Cardiff Council about Trading Standards and MMS. Thank you to @JohnLDixon for all the help with doing this. The response was brilliant. Basically, Trading Standards in Cardiff ARE still looking into my complaint. They’re “not avoiding any responsibilities”. I was told the problem needs to be tackled nationally. The deputy leader of Cardiff Council, Ms Judith Woodman, who responded to my question, also promised to write to the chief medical officer in Wales about it. The South Wales Echo came to meet me beforehand, did an interview with me and took a lot of photos. The article can be found here!

Then… On Friday, the 24th September, Bleachgate went official.

The Food Standards Agency released a warning about it, in a similar vein to the FDA’s announcement. This was picked up by the BBC and various other websites.

On Monday, I was sitting in my physics lesson when the Ms. Humphreys from the school office came in and said to me that Radio 4 wanted to do an interview. I agreed and this is the result… http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/txzlq/

The rest of the day went by almost normally, until my chemistry lesson in the afternoon. My school principal, Mr. Dorey, was waiting outside. He pointed towards me and said “Don’t think you’re getting away with it that easily!” I was confused and thought I was in trouble, until he congratulated me on my Radio 4 appearance. He then told me that the day was going to get even more surreal, as BBC Radio Wales had contacted him and wanted to do an interview with me. They wanted to do a live interview at 5:30, but unfortunately, I had other plans for after school – another newspaper article in the Echo, more on that in a minute – so wasn’t able to do a live interview. However, the host of “Good Evening Wales”, Adrian Masters, came to my school and interviewed me. Since the program is quite long (2 hours), you might want to skip to the relevant bits. The first interview with me is at roughly 17 minutes. The next part about Bleachgate is an interview with the FSA which confirms once and for all that Miracle Mineral Solution is illegal. This comes roughly at 1 hour 16 minutes.

All this publicity is excellent. Thanks to all who signed up to the Google spreadsheet to complain about MMS Health and various other MMS peddlers to Trading Standards. As it happens, they are already investigating… er… ALL MMS sellers in the UK due to the FSA complaining to a number of the relevant Trading Standards bodies.

I mentioned earlier about another newspaper article in the South Wales Echo. They were meant to come and do an interview and photos on Monday of this week, but due to a last minute meeting, were unable to come. However, they will be coming and doing the interview on Tuesday, so all is not lost. Follow me on Twitter @rhysmorgan and I’ll let you all know when it’ll be in and if the article is available online or not.

Thanks for the help. Without your retweets about the blog and the video, this could have just been pushed under the carpet.

– Rhys

Homeopathy in Cardiff

2 Sep

A few weeks ago, I decided to send an email to the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board regarding homeopathy on the NHS.
I asked them if they had any information about spending on it, and if they had it, to send it on to me under the FOIA. First response was “We’re not sure, We’ll get back to you when I have more information.”
So, I waited. And I waited. And waited some more.
Just over two weeks later, I sent another email saying “Do you have the information yet”
I got an automatic out-of-office response saying the person who had emailed me originally had gone on holiday and wasn’t going to be back till January 2011. How annoying. Luckily, she had delegated her job to someone else, so I sent them an email.
The response I got was another out-of-office email, saying they’d be back in the office the following Monday. It was quickly followed by an actual response saying they’d look into it when they got back to the office.
And again, I waited.
Another week passed without any further correspondence. Getting a little annoyed, I sent another email asking if they had the information yet. Once again, out-of-office reply. They’d be back in the office on the 11th September. So, I figured I’d wait and send another email then.
However, today, I was sent a very pleasing email which I will print in full here:

Dear Mr Morgan, I’ve been asked to reply to you on behalf of Estelle Hitchon in connection with your query regarding homeopathic care. Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. However, I am able to let you know that we do not offer any homeopathic treatment here at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. If I can help in any other way please let me know. Many thanks.

Chris Davies

(emphasis mine)

Hooray! This means that Cardiff and the Vale are a homeopathy free zone!
Congratulations to the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. You are awesome.

Bleachgate: The Response

14 Aug

Wow. What just happened? I think Bleachgate went viral.
So far, I have received loads of messages of support from folks including Ben Goldacre (@BenGoldacre), Simon Singh (@SLSingh), Tom Chivers (@TomChivers) and John Dixon (@JohnLDixon). I’ve done
interviews for The Pod Delusion and Skeptics Guide to the Universe,
and a video production company in Yorkshire want to do a documentary
about me and my skeptical outlook.
So, what have I been up to since the video/blogpost? Well, I’ve not exactly been sitting around doing nothing!
Firstly, I have reported a couple of websites selling Miracle Mineral Solution to Consumers Direct who sent them on to Trading Standards. Trading
Standards have forwarded the complaints to the MHRA, who will get back to them with info on whether A) MMS is safe and B) the claims of efficacy are true. Given that we already know what the results should say, Trading Standards should be able to nail these websites. (Links now included here and  here; thanks for the NoFollow info!) I’ve also, as previously mentioned, done interviews for The Pod Delusion and Skeptics Guide to the Universe.
Since the video became popular, I was permanently banned from Crohn’s
Forum. A representative has also posted various comments on the video
claiming that I lied and that I am misleading everyone, that I was
illegally on the forum and that I was rude, aggressive and insulting.
I’d like to address these claims.
1. The claim that I lied in the video.
I did not once lie in the video. You can verify this yourself by
looking at the FreezePages of the threads herehere.
2. That I was illegally on the forum. This claim was made based upon
the fact that to register on the forum, you have to agree agree that
you are over 18 – unless you e-mail the admin asking for permission
beforehand, which I did.
(I will gladly forward these e-mails to anyone who asks for this proof.)
3. The final claim that I was rude, aggressive and insulting; I disagree
with. @medtek, @IrregularShed, @DanMcskelly, @frozenwarning, @KimMKendall, @AriesFyre, @FerFrias and @DT_1975 all followed my posts as Bleachgate unfolded and are willing to put their name to it that I wasn’t rude, aggressive or insulting (although @DanMcskelly says I came across as a bit snooty. Sorry if I did. That was never my intent.) But don’t just take their word for it. Read the FreezePages and decide for yourself.
Now, what’s next?
Well, Councillor John Dixon has asked me if I want to raise a public question in a Cardiff Council meeting and had offered to help me prepare. I have taken him up on this offer and will, this week, be in contact with him about this.
So, once again, thank you all for getting the story out there.
Special thanks to @kashfarooq for sending me @crohnsibd’s comments by email! Also special thanks to everyone who wrote their own blogposts about Bleachgate.
I will, of course, keep you informed of any and all news regarding Bleachgate!
Thanks for reading.
– Rhys

EDIT: I’ve now included those links. Thanks to everyone for the advice regarding NoFollow!

Twitter

11 Aug

I LOVE Twitter. Really, I do. But I have some gripes with it.

What really gets me is how many linkspamming accounts are set up and don’t get taken down, no matter how often they’re reported for spam.

One such example of these organised link spammers are homeopaths.

In TweetDeck, just so I can keep an eye on what’s being said, I have a column set up to search for “homeopathy OR homeopathic OR homeopath”. Basically, whenever anyone mentions anything to do with those, I’ll know about it. One thing I’ve noticed from this, however, is the sheer number of identical tweets that happen. I swear, there must be only one or two different people or computers actually “funding” these linkspam accounts with links to spam.

So, I implore you, dear blog readers, that if ever you see an obvious linkspam account, that you report it to Twitter for spam.

Another few dangerous and mad Twitterers include DebbyBruck, DrShreya and RashmiChanana. They frequently linkspam and retweet each others tweets. I advise you keep an eye on their accounts, make sure that any advice they give is swiftly followed by proof homeopathy is a farce.

Night everyone!

– Rhys